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Cause Marketing at its best: Macy’s and Make a Wish

by Emily Taylor
3 01 2012

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so impressed with a cause marketing campaign.  I don’t write on the topic often, but recently I’ve really enjoyed hearing about people caring for other people.  Maybe it was the holiday season, but I spent a lot of time basking in the glow of some really great stories.  In a world this side of Heaven where pain is real and selfish ambition is a cultural norm, it’s really inspiring to read about the powerful impact one company can have on so many individuals.  I LOVE what Macy’s did in their partnership with Make-A-Wish

According to the website, the campaign was inspired by the New York Suns famous “yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial from 1897.  The fun and interactive part is that there was a letter writing piece included which encouraged children around the country to write a letter to Santa and drop it into the “Believe Stations” in Macy’s stores.  For each letter dropped Macy’s made a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation, up to $1 Million.  Impressive, impactful, interactive, and nostalgic.

Here’s why I like it; it’s sponsorship done right to the core.  While the fact that they probably like the affiliation with this kind of doing good is not really masked, it’s done so well, SO WELL, and so many people are impacted for the better, that you can’t help but adore Macy’s for their effort. Not only is Make-A-Wish, and the very deserving families they serve going to benefit from this campaign, but each and every one of the children who are given the opportunity to participate in writing a letter are making a memory.  The kid’s parents appreciate the opportunity to provide some fun for their babies, the kids are having a ball writing to Santa and indicating their “belief,” and those same children will probably enter adulthood remembering the time they sent a letter to Santa at Macy’s.  What brand doesn’t want that kind of affiliation – they just created some rockin brand loyalty. Brilliant – and SO fun.  We’re always preaching about how a sponsor should try to impact the audience’s experience above all else.  Well, I’d say Macy’s did just that.

When I was a little girl the Post office in our city sponsored an effort where if a child dropped off a letter to Santa, they would deliver a response.  They actually had a nursing home assign letters to some of the tenants, and they personally wrote back to each child.  I’m clearly still talking about it – why?  Because as a child it was memorable.   As I already implied about this campaign, it’s also memorable.  Santa Claus is both motivating and significant to most children.  Macy’s just provided their stores as an outlet for children to connect with Santa and at the same time impact someone else.  I think it’s brilliant.

I’d love to be pointed to some more stories like this one – if you are impressed with some great cause marketing stories, please point me and our readers in the direction of a great read!

Categories:   industry happenings
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1/4/2012 10:03:56 AM #

Hey Emily,

Nice post. I included Macy's in my own post on top holiday cause marketing promotions. You can check it out here.


If you're ever interested in having me do some guest blogging on your site, let me know.



1/5/2012 2:46:38 PM #

Hi Joe!
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